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Woman ID'd in drowning
Victim's death being investigated as accident

COVINGTON - The woman who apparently drowned after falling into the rushing water at Factory Shoals Park on Monday has been identified as 35-year-old Conyers resident Marie Elaina Carley.

"The investigation is still ongoing and we are working to figure out exactly what occurred," said Newton County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Mark Mitchell on Tuesday morning. "We're investigating it as an

accidental drowning."

Autopsy results are pending.

Mitchell said the NCSO was notified about 11 a.m. Monday that someone had gone into the waters of the Alcovy River at Factory Shoals in south Newton County. A search and rescue operation began immediately, but it wasn't until about 4:30 that afternoon that Carley's body was located.

"The water was just running so fast. Emergency personnel did a grid search in the river and located her body," Mitchell said. "She was found not too far from where she fell in."

Mitchell said recent rains had caused the water to be deeper and more turbulent than usual.

Carley was the youngest in a family of four daughters and the mother of two sons, ages 15 and 16.

"She was very bright, very outgoing," said her father, Ron Carley. "She was showing her boyfriend where her favorite swimming hole was. She loved swimming and she loved her boys."

Her sister, Patricia Kepner, said Carley was very familiar with the location where the accident occurred.

"She was showing where they go to slide down the rocks," Kepner said. "The rocks must have been slippery because no one had been out there in a while and the water was so strong that it pulled her under and she drowned."

She recalled her sister's personality and said she was "very quiet."

"They nicknamed her giggles because she laughed at everything. She never had a bad thing to say about anybody," her sister said. "She didn't have an enemy. She liked everybody and everybody liked her."

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to a trust fund for college for her two boys at the Ga. Highway 138 branch of United Community Bank.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com